Casio Edifice EQB-600 review: The smart-ish watch that might have the answer to the wearables conundrum

£303
Price when reviewed

What makes a smartwatch smart? The answer I usually give to this question is whether it does notifications. That means the Casio Edifice EQB-600 is pretty dumb, right? After all, the only connected things it does are hook up to your phone via Bluetooth and the Casio+ app to sync the time, set up and switch time zones, and to provide a “find my phone” facility.

That’s it; that’s all it does.

It’s laughably basic: a smart-ish watch rather than a proper smartwatch, it doesn’t even have the facility to count your steps like a Fitbit. And yet, after a few weeks wearing one as a kind of “what the hell” experiment, I find my opinion shifting. The Casio Edifice EQB-600 is not only a watch that’s smart; I’m beginning to think it’s a lot closer to what a smartwatch should be than the current crop of Android Wear and Apple timepieces.

Before you click away, muttering “crazy fool” under your breath, just hear me out.

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Casio Edifice EQB-600 review: Design

First, the Casio is undeniably attractive, much more so than most modern smartwatches. It might not be to your taste, but I love the way it looks and I’m sure plenty of folk will agree. With its chunky, stainless steel casing, chrome blue bezel under-trim, stainless link strap and clasp, and cleanly crafted three-dimensional watch face, it’s a great watch to wear whatever the occasion. It’s smart enough to wear with a suit and casual enough to keep on your wrist when you’re lounging around at home.

Casio Edifice EQB-600 left side

It’s packed with eye-catching complications as well: a quarter dial at the top left indicates the day of the week; a subdial below it shows the time in your designated world location; there’s a rotating globe that indicates not only where your world time location is, but also the sunset and sunrise, so you can tell if it’s the middle of the night or daytime at your dual-time location.

A date window sits in the bottom-right corner, while around the edges of the watch case are three chunky buttons and a crown adorned with the Edifice logo. The latter is used for adjusting the time manually.

Casio Edifice EQB-600 review: Features

The second big benefit? You’ll never have to plug it in to charge. Ever. This is because the watch face is a solar panel that keeps the battery topped up whenever it’s exposed to light. Just make sure you don’t keep it tucked under a shirt sleeve all the time.

Third, the smart things it does do are actually useful. Download the Casio+ app and you’ll be able to adjust your dual-time setting by simply selecting the city from a list and sending the setting to the watch. With this done, the dual-time subdial spins to display the second time, and you can swap main time and world time between subdial and the main watch hands by holding down the top-right button for three seconds.

Another handy feature is the watch’s ability to connect to your phone to update the time and date. You can have it do this up to four times a day, at 5am, 11am, 5pm and 11pm, and it’ll also update automatically when the time comes to set the clocks forwards or back.

Last, but by no means least, you can use the bottom-right button to ping your phone if you’ve lost it. Ultra useful if you’re in a rush to leave the house and can’t remember where you put your phone. The app allows you to select from three different alert tones and set the volume, although I’m not entirely sure why you’d want to set this at anything less than maximum.

Casio Edifice EQB-600 review: Verdict

I’ve said it already: this is no smartwatch. It simply doesn’t do enough for that, with no notifications and no fitness-tracking features at all.

It is, however, an elegantly designed timepiece that looks great on the wrist, whose small handful of extra bells and whistles work well and are actually useful. The Casio Edifice EQB-600 is far from dumb; in fact, it’s beautifully poised.

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